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At least 5 Cuban rafters dead in shipwreck in Florida Keys; 5 still missing

At least five Cuban rafters died after their boat capsized this Saturday near the Florida Keys, while another five remain missing, a Coast Guard (USCG) spokesperson confirmed to CiberCuba.

According to the source consulted by this site, at least 19 Cubans who were on board a homemade boat were involved in the events.

The nationality of the rafters was confirmed to the authorities by one of the survivors of the incident. However, the identity of the fatalities or those who saved their lives after this new tragedy at sea has not been revealed.

The Coast Guard confirmed that nine people were rescued alive, of which one died. At the same time, he reported another four deaths who “drowned immediately after capsizing” the boat, approximately 50 miles off Little Torch Key.

The agents continue the search operations by sea and air for the five people who remain missing.

In the latest information posted to its Twitter account, the USCG revealed that search teams recovered two other unconscious, unresponsive individuals. However, according to the report, it is not clear if these people are part of the four Cubans drowned when the boat capsized or of the five whose whereabouts are unknown.

In a preliminary report, the USCG explained that some of the people rescued were wearing life jackets, in an area where the waters reach 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) deep and with winds of 48 kilometers per hour.

The US authorities frequently emphasize that jumping into the sea to cross the Straits of Florida is dangerous, but this does not stop the exodus of Cubans by sea.

In addition to the risk that this journey poses to life, people who venture into it are likely to be returned to Cuba if they are intercepted at sea.

This Friday, the Coast Guard repatriated 95 Cuban rafters who were detained in various operations, in the vicinity of Cayo Marquesas, Cayo Largo, Tavernier, Boot Key and Loggerhead.

Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, on October 1, US Coast Guard crews have intercepted 2,005 Cubans.

If the current trend continues, in three months the number accumulated during the 2022 fiscal period (6,182) would be reached and it would also exceed the 5,396 rafters intercepted in 2016, when thousands threw themselves into the sea hoping to reach US territory before it was eliminated the dry foot/wet foot policy, as finally decreed by the Obama administration in January 2017.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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